Photographic Truth on Packaging Design

Following my last post about the Sainsbury’s Basics range packaging designed by Williams Murray Hamm, I then went onto discover that this particular agency focuses on finding the truth within brands and corporate identity.‘ There’s a ruthless simplicity to WMH’s work, because we believe that everything must be based on one single-minded brand truth.’
Each of the Basics range products has quotes on their packaging explaining exactly what they are, and why they are much cheaper, and basically ‘you are getting what you pay for’.

After I had looked at the merchandise more closely however, it then came apparent that they in fact stock these always beside their ‘By Sainsbury’s’ range which is almost Basics with an exception of price and a design on the packaging (a little colour and a photograph of the food). It seems fair to say that particular fresh and perfectly cut peach is not the one inside that actual yoghurt.

I think it would now certainly be interesting to look at the photographic truth within packaging design, and food.

Steve Baxter is a food photographer who has done projects for Waitrose and Tesco’s Finest range. Unless food is photographed professionally, ‘staged’ and edited it is difficult to make it look mouth-watering, and attractive enough for consumers to want to buy and eat. This photography can always be seen on all products in supermarkets.

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Yesterday I was having a discussion with a work colleague about the weather and that I had been out over the weekend the capture a recent project I have been working on in the streets of Chester. The weather was dull, the sky was grey however I had managed to edit the images to make this look like a perfect summers day on Photoshop to make the image look more visually appealing and cheerful. The great thing about photography is you really can do anything with it.

Here is an example of what can be done to change the appearance of an already professional shot of food.


Martin Parr is known for photographing ‘bad quality food’ In his photographs, what can be seen is almost how ‘anyone would photograph food’ the focus of his images is not to capture ‘professional’ photographs, but ones that donate something. As much as I do not agree with his work, I think in comparison it is a good example to use to show food not photographed to look tasty.

martin Parr British Food

I think it is also interesting to note the novelty for people online taking photographs of their food to post on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. Here is one of my own which I captured in Paris and uploaded to Instagram. The cake was ‘real’ I was just about to eat that exact cake, however the image cannot capture reality including the texture, taste and that the cake was freezing cold and completely fresh. It also definitely looked tastier in reality.